About Us

Make a Donation
Local • Independent • Essential News
Photo by Julia Reihs/KUT

Austin health officials won’t relax Covid-19 guidance this month

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 by Trey Shaar

Numbers tracking the coronavirus pandemic in the Austin area have stopped improving and could worsen, new projections show.

The projections, released Friday by UT’s Covid-19 Modeling Consortium, show lines flattening in the weeks ahead and possibly rising. The consortium reports a 32 percent probability that the pandemic will worsen here and a reproduction number of 0.91. A rate above 1 would mean the pandemic is growing in severity.

“We’re seeing plateauing of the projections for hospital admissions, ICU admissions and hospital utilization,” Austin Public Health interim Medical Director Dr. Mark Escott said in a briefing. “And as of today, entering the stage 2 is off of the projections through the first week of May.”

APH had earlier suggested restrictions could be eased as soon as the end of this month if new hospitalizations averaged fewer than 10 per day. But daily hospitalizations have remained closer to 20, the threshold for the current stage 3 level of risk.

Escott urged increased precautions to prevent the pandemic from getting worse.

“It means we have to work harder to continue those protections: the masking, the distancing, the hand hygiene, staying home when we’re sick, getting tested and isolating from other individuals when we have any of the symptoms of Covid-19,” he said, “and we’ve got to work on getting more vaccines out.”

APH is opening its vaccine availability to anyone 18 and older starting Monday and urging people at higher risk, including public-facing workers, to get an appointment.

Escott also announced some brighter news Friday: Since last month, hospital stays have been shorter and mortality rates have been lower. He credited vaccination efforts and the use of monoclonal antibody treatments, which help to reduce severity of the disease.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.

The Austin Monitor’s work is made possible by donations from the community. Though our reporting covers donors from time to time, we are careful to keep business and editorial efforts separate while maintaining transparency. A complete list of donors is available here, and our code of ethics is explained here.

You're a community leader

And we’re honored you look to us for serious, in-depth news. You know a strong community needs local and dedicated watchdog reporting. We’re here for you and that won’t change. Now will you take the powerful next step and support our nonprofit news organization?

Back to Top